Every industry can benefit from Big Data, IoT and AI, and that includes brewers. Dutch brewer Heineken has been a worldwide brewing leader for the last 150 years, but today, as the No. 1 brewer in Europe and No. 2 in the world they are ramping up their results thanks to the use of big data and AI. As the company sets out to better compete in the formidable U.S. beer market they plan to leverage the vast amounts of data they collect. Currently, they sell more than 8.5 million barrels of its various beer brands here in the U.S., but they hope to increase those numbers with data-driven improvements and AI augmentation to its operations, marketing, advertising and customer experience.
Heineken Improves Operations through Data Analytics
From forecasting to optimizing delivery routes, Heineken uses data at every stage of the supply chain. Data informs Heineken’s collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment processes to eliminate inefficiencies throughout the entire chain. Through data analytics, the brewer can adjust production when there is high inventory, long production or replenishment lead-times, and seasonal variances in the demand for its products.
The Internet of Things and Heineken’s Ignite Bottle
The brewer is not letting the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) pass them by. By 2025, the Internet of Things is expected to generate up to $11.1 trillion a year in economic value according to a McKinsey Global Institute report. Heineken has already dabbled in the IoT with its Ignite bottle—one of the winning ideas for the company’s annual Future Bottle Design Challenge. These interactive bottles have 50 individual components and sensors including LED lights that turn beer bottles into connected devices that respond to the beat of the music in clubs and reflect its rhythms so that “every bottle becomes part of the party.” Its lights also flicker when the bottle is tipped back for a drink, “cheers” another bottle and dim when nobody is touching it. The Ignite bottle certainly contributes to a memorable customer experience when enjoying a Heineken brew.
Heineken partnered with Walmart on a pilot program with Shopperception, a company that analyzes the behaviour of shoppers in front of the shelves and uses the metrics it gathers to create real-time events to drive more conversions. This program helped them gather a tremendous amount of data on how every six-pack or can of Heineken left the store. The brewer and retailer can assess all the data collected to better understand the customer who is purchasing Heineken as well what might be the best location in the store to sell beer and when.
Heineken also has a strong social media following and created partnerships with Facebook and Google to better understand their customers. Now armed with this insight, Heineken can create personalized and event-driven marketing experiences.